Starting 2020  with the same productivity (Myth of I, Aronious, Sutrah) as they ended 2019 (Immanifest, Singularity, Flub, Equipoise, etc) The Artisan Era is quickly rivaling Unique Leader Records when it comes to tech death, even if The Artisan Era seems to have a a little more focus on symphonics. However, there may be some genre fatigue going on, as neither the Myth of I, Aronious or this the debut album from California’s Symbolik have not really struck a chord with me so far in 2020.

With guitarist Allen Burton, who has helped out with labelmates The Odious Construct and Inanimate Existence as well as Unique Leader’s  Alterbeast, (which should give you a pretty good idea of the band’s sound), this is competent, well played modern tech death with a subtle symphonic element, but it’s not really sticking with me as some of their 2019 label mates did.

Maybe I’ve been Pavlov’d by the label’s previous more symphonic efforts as the samples and more understated keyboards of drummer Brandon Clevenstine, are not quite as sweeping or bombastic as some of their peers.  Maybe the pristinely produced/mixed songs (Zach Ohren’s familiar clean sound is prominent here) are just not as memorable despite their more melodic, solo/sweep filled complexity and twiddly shreddage.  I dunno, but it certainly should not lessen the expectations or curiosity of label or genre fans.

There are a few tracks that I sort of liked such as “Invoking Oblivion”, “Corridors of the Consumed”, “Dirge of Creation”,  “Coalescing the Void” and “Perceptions of Reality” (a standout if i had to pick one). But other wise, I came away with a bit of a by the numbers or ‘samey’ vibe,  as it’s all pretty fast paced throughout, with little to recall, no tracks that really got my blood pumping, or hit me like some of the label’s 2019 efforts, despite the top notch musicianship on display from all involved.

Still, Emergence checks all the boxes for 2020 tech death and certainly 2019/2020 The Artisan Era releases and my apathy should be more attributed to my own personal genre overload and mood than quality of the release, and fans of tech death and the label would do well to check it out.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
April 16th, 2020


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